Men’s Open competitor Nick “The Mutant” Walker hosted an epic back training session with fellow bodybuilder and Olympia-bound Classic Physique pro Urs Kalecinski at the MI40 gym in Tampa, FL. They recorded their workout and published it on Kalecinski’s YouTube channel on Oct. 6, 2022. The athletes reinforced their grips with lifting straps and hit a high-volume pull day that included single-arm movements, machine work, and free-weight exercises. Check it out below:
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The two bodybuilders have made quite a stir on social media as of late. Walker recently split from his sponsor Hosstile and teamed up with a previous coach to prep for the Men’s Open at the 2022 Olympia. Kalecinski’s progress pictures thus far in his prep suggest he’s a contender for the podium in the Classic Physique division. In 2021, Walker won the 2021 New York Pro, placed fifth at his Olympia debut, and became the 19th Arnold Classic USA champion.
Walker’s only contest appearance in 2022 will be an attempt to dethrone two-time reigning champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay at the 2022 Olympia. The German-born powerhouse Kalecinski took a fourth at the 2021 Olympia, third at the 2022 Arnold Classic, and won the 2022 Boston Pro.
Single-Arm Pulldowns & Chest Supported Rows
Single-arm lat pulldowns were first. Taking advantage of unilateral training benefits, including a slight torso rotation, they each trained both sides evenly to prevent muscular imbalances. According to a 2018 review in Sports Medicine, bilateral training “may produce the greatest comprehensive strength adaptations,” but “utilizing single-arm movements can offer more motor recruitment resulting in greater muscle fiber activation.” (1)
“I don’t ever really do free weights anymore. I do all machines. I’ve noticed that’s what’s helped build my back the most,” commented Walker
Kalecinski led the subsequent exercise by leaning onto a weigh bench to perform chest-supported T-bar rows — great for adding density to the upper back. The duo focused on form with full ranges of motion, allowing the muscle to stretch fully with each rep. Kalecinski was impressed with how heavy Walker went while his form remained textbook.
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Hammer Rows, Seated Rows, Stiff-Arm Pulldowns, Rack Pulls, & Hyperextensions
With their chests supported, Kalecinski and Walker took turns on the seated hammer row, a personal favorite of Walker’s for adding size to his back. They utilized an underhand grip, kept the elbows strictly to their sides, and squeezed to emphasize the lower lats.
Led by Kalecinski, the duo hit wide-grip seated rows with a neutral grip bar. They opted for five sets instead of the typical seven for 10-12 reps with a 30-second rest between each to keep the intensity high. They followed that with stiff-arm pulldowns — an isolation movement for the lats. Both athletes opted for a rope variation, again focused on the stretch at the bottom of the movement. Kalecinski and Walker finished their session with rack pulls followed by hyperextension.
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Back Workout Summary
Below are the exercises that Walker and Kalecinski performed during the workout:
- Single-Arm Lat Pulldowns
- Chest-Supported T-Bar Rows
- Chest-Supported Underhand Hammer Rows
- Neutral Grip Seated Rows
- Stiff-Arm Pulldowns
- Superset: Rack Pulls & Hyperextensions
The bodybuilders held nothing back during their training session. Both pros will likely maintain that level of intensity as their Olympia preps continue. The 2022 Olympia is scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
Suchomel, T. J., Nimphius, S., Bellon, C. R., & Stone, M. H. (2018). The Importance of Muscular Strength: Training Considerations. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 48(4), 765–785. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0862-z
Featured Image: @the.miraclebear and @nick_walker39 on Instagram